The following summarizes notable deficiencies in the current release of the Pyrseas utilities. For further details please refer to the discussions in the Pyrseas issue tracker. Suggestions or patches to deal with these issues are welcome.
Coverage of Postgres Objects
An important Pyrseas objective is to support creating, altering or dropping nearly any Postgres object accessible through SQL, including adding, modifying or removing any attributes or features of those objects. At present, we believe Pyrseas covers roughly over 90% of the Postgres object/attribute universe. Please refer to the Feature Matrix for details.
This is a continuing effort since Postgres keeps adding new features in each release, such as the table PARTITIONING syntax in PG 10. We have documented current limitations in the issue tracker, see, for example, issues 135 and 178. Please open an issue on the tracker if you find objects or features needing additional support.
The first releases of yamltodb used a generally fixed traversal order when generating SQL. This caused problems with complex dependencies between objects (e.g., views that depended on functions that depended on types). Release 0.8 introduced a topological sort of objects based on their dependencies. The resulting dependency graph is now used to drive SQL generation. This should eliminate most object dependency problems seen with the previous architecture. However, certain issues still remain. Specifically, if an object depends on a Postgres internally-defined object, or on an object defined by a Postgres extension, the Pyrseas utilities may not behave as expected (see issue 175 for additional discussion).
Pyrseas provides support for generating SQL statements to rename various database objects, e.g., ALTER TABLE t1 RENAME TO t2, using an 'oldname' tag which can be added to objects that support SQL RENAME. The tag has to be added manually to a YAML specification for yamltodb to act on it and cannot be kept in the YAML file for subsequent runs. This is not entirely satisfactory for storing the YAML file in a version control system.
The yamltodb utility compares the existing and input metadata by constructing parallel, in-memory representations of the database catalogs and the input YAML specification. If the database has a large number of objects, e.g., in the thousands of tables, the utility's memory usage may be noticeable.
The text of function source code, view definitions or object COMMENTs present a problem when they span multiple lines. The default YAML output format is to enclose the entire string in double quotes, to show newlines that are part of the text as escaped characters (i.e., \n) and to break the text into lines with a backslash-newline-indentation-backslash pattern. For example:
source: "\n SELECT inventory_id\n FROM inventory\n WHERE film_id =\ \ $1\n AND store_id = $2\n AND inventory_in_stock(inventory_id);\n"
This is not very readable, but it does allow YAML to read it back and correctly reconstruct the original string. To improve readability, Pyrseas 0.7 introduced special processing for these strings. By using YAML notation, the same string is represented as follows:
source: |2 SELECT inventory_id FROM inventory WHERE film_id = $1 AND store_id = $2 AND NOT inventory_in_stock(inventory_id);
Note also that if your function source code has trailing spaces at the end of lines, they would normally be represented in the original default format. However, in the interest of readability, dbtoyaml will remove the trailing spaces from the text.
Index and Partitioning Expressions
Postgres allows users to create indexes using expressions. A user can also mix expressions with regular columns. The Postgres catalogs store the index information in a bespoke fashion: an array of column numbers where a zero indicates an expression and a list of expression trees (an internal format) for the expressions, with additional arrays for collation information, operator classes and index options such as ASC or DESC. Although the pg_get_indexdef system catalog function can be used to obtain a full CREATE INDEX statement, Pyrseas has chosen to specify each column or expression separately in the YAML definitions. This has not been satisfactory in complex cases (see for example issue 170) and is an area requiring further attention. A similar situation exists for table partitioning using expressions.